Saturday, February 21, 2015

Let Greece Show You the World.


It’s Saturday.  Yesterday, absolutely for sure, Greece faced a drop-dead certain date in its media driven European Roadshow, aka The Financial Crisis.  There have been so many politicians out there jockeying for face time press attention in this extravaganza that it’s hard to find an unclaimed syllable in any of a half-dozen languages.

But, lo and behold, miracle of miracles, Armageddon’s been postponed (again).  This time to June 30th via a four-month extension if Greece submits by Monday an “action plan” specifying the precise reforms it plans on implementing, and all necessary parliaments (including Greece’s) approve the extension deal.

Sad, isn’t it, when you realize how much attention this rather traditional drag-it-out-to-the-very-last-moment-so-your-constituents-don’t-think-you-left-anything-on-the-table style of labor/management negotiation is getting, while so much else in Greece in need of urgent honest attention goes unwatched, unheeded, uncared for. 

Let’s be real, Greece’s true tragic dramas are playing out every day in homes, schools, streets, hospitals, and shops all across the country, as eleven million people hold their collective breath praying they’ve entrusted their fate into the right hands.

It is the everyday Greek, not the politicians, who have the most to lose.  And to understand precisely what’s at risk, here are photographs sent to me by a friend in Greece (Andreas Fiorentinos) showing how within his homeland one can find virtually the entire world. 

I think it's time governments get back to basics: the land of Greece and its people are not to blame.

The photographs are from diadoseto.blogspot.gr and e-fungus.gr.









































Acropolis, Sounion, Mount Athos monastery



  Jeff—Saturday

20 comments:

  1. Well it is still Friday here in the Pacific Ocean state of Hawaii - but none the less we have watched the reports from Greece and the European Union closely this week. Several years ago while visiting Chania, Crete our inn keeper made the observation that nothing that would ever happen in Greece would make the world pay attention. . the memory of that night when he told us that came back vividly today as the US stock market soared 150 points immediately after the 'breaking news' came across the television screen. The world is watching. . .I hope we all stay focused the next four months.

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    1. Funny you should make that observation, J&J because one of my characters made precisely the same observation in "Assassins of Athens," published in 2010.

      He said, "But, as much as we like to think they do, the rest of the world doesn’t give a damn about what goes on here. Unless something is burning, Greece doesn’t make the international news. Even then, not for long.”

      That was true then, but everything changed. That book, by the way, anticipated the rise of Greece's new Prime Minister in a way I can only describe as eerie. I wrote about that on my publisher's blogsite on Thursday. http://www.poisonedpenpress.com/book-came-true/

      By the way, this financial conflagration not over yet by a long shot. By Monday the government has to come up with specific reforms, and that four months puts the government under huge pressure to show progress on those reforms because a big financial payback is due in the fifth month.

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    2. Well, your character is still on the money: "financial conflagration" qualifies as "something burning".

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    3. Yes. . .that big sigh of relief I posted yesterday on FB only lasts through the weekend if that long

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    4. Here's an article that just appeared a few moments ago in the NY Times that pretty well explains what happened...and intimates at what might. http://www.nytimes.com/2015/02/22/world/europe/a-deal-that-preserves-greeces-place-in-eurozone-and-fiscal-restraints.html?hp&action=click&pgtype=Homepage&module=first-column-region&region=top-news&WT.nav=top-news&_r=0

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  2. Ah but I see you STILL have to come to South Africa!

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  3. Yes. What has happened is not the fault of Greece or its people. People are suffering there with skyrocketing unemployment, hunger, lack of health care, homelessness.

    Hope that this arrangement helps to restore jobs and services. I believe the minimum wage was already raised after Syriza got in office.

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    1. As much as I sympathise with the Greek people, they do have to learn to pay taxes and do need to elect politicians who are willing to make tough decisions. In general, I don't think that austerity will solve Greece's (or Europe's) economic ails, but my northern European friends unanimously are sick and tired of bailing out countries that aren't willing to knuckle down and act prudently. Unless there is a real change in behaviour in Greece, I think this is the last time Germany will compromise.

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    2. I'm afraid, Kathy D, that this deal is only going to show that "the more things change the more they remain the same." The new government realizes it can't deliver on its pre-election promises and that if it doesn't deliver acceptable new reforms to its creditors by Monday it will likely run out of money by Tuesday. To me, the party in power is trying to position itself before its constituents for the disappointment that's coming. I say that because its spokesman is saying publicly, "We're new to this governing business and so learning on the job." They also appear to be setting up their Finance Minister, Yanis Varoufakis, to take the fall should their supporters cry out for a scapegoat for failed promises on getting the rest of Europe to back down.

      As I said, this drama is far from over.

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  4. Greece's story is a long one, full of many things, both sad and joyous. No matter what happens, it will continue. The lives of individuals today and for a few decades may suffer, but history and culture are an unstoppable steamroller.

    Beautiful pictures! The Grand Canyon didn't fool me though. It goes down, not up, and there was WAY too much GREEN in the picture! :-)

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    1. Thanks you, EvKa. By the way, would you believe me if I told you that was a photo of the Grand Canyon but you were looking at it upside down? No, well that sort of sums up the attitude of Germany's finance minister toward Greece's proposals.

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  5. Another beautiful trip. There is a smart A** in me that is saying those Greeks will do anything for attention. If we could do something to curb corruption, wouldn't it be better
    in a lot of places.

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    1. A big A for agreement on that observation, Lil.

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  6. I thought of Jerusalem when we visited Rhodes. After after all, how many walled crusader cities exist in the world? It turns out that the old synagogue at Rhodes is being supported by Jews from Montgomery, Alabama. There are plaques to that effect on the walls. While we were there, some tourists came in and it was clear that one of them was acting as tour guide. In the heaviest southern accent you can imagine, he described to the others the services he attended when a little boy, The photos on this blog are gorgeous! Greece is gorgeous. I hope someday to visit there again. Right now I am sticking close to the U.S.

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    1. I agree, the old city in Rhodes is truly magical. Barbara. You can't help but sense the vibration of charging horses' hooves clicking along the cobblestones as crusaders charged up the hills with who knows what purposes in mind.

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  7. A propos of Stan's comment, I remember being a little astonished when the new president announced what he was going to "make" the EU do about Greece's debt. Perhaps I did not understand, but the idea that he would call the shots struck me as more than a little arrogant. I am not very politically astute and may have gotten it all wrong. It reminds me of an ad on TV in which a would-be immigrant talked of wanting to make a contribution and being fenced out. My grandfather did not think of making a contribution. He thought of protecting his family from slaughter. It took two generations before we had the education to pull ourselves out of his ghetto. It seems to me that the questions rest on instant gratification. I want what I want now! Without having to give up anything. But of course watching corrupt politicians lap up the gravy doesn't inspire much in the way of a willingness to make some sacrifices now for the future.

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    1. Barbara, I'm not sure we have any better idea of what purposes these modern day charging crusaders have in mind.

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